Ruth Bader Ginsburg Just Had Heart Surgery, But She's Doing Well & Resting Comfortably

Here's a bit of unexpected and unfortunate news, although, thankfully, everything is okay for now — liberal icon and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent heart surgery Wednesday morning to fix a blocked coronary artery which began causing her chest discomfort during a workout Tuesday night. According to NBC News, Ginsburg had a stent placed inside her right coronary artery successfully. She's now comfortably resting, and expected to be released from the hospital in about 48 hours.

For the unfamiliar, a stent is a tiny device that’s placed inside one of the heart’s arteries, with an inflating balloon attached that compresses plaque blockage to allow blood to flow freely. It’s a tried-and-true course of action for patients suffering from signs of coronary heart disease, although some past research has suggested that long-term outcomes are more dictated by healthy living and physical activity. On this front, Ginsburg is likely ahead of the curve for virtually any patient her age — she’s known as a vigorous exerciser, under the tutelage of her personal trainer Bryant Johnson.

That said, it's nonetheless a concerning moment for people who appreciate Ginsburg's sharp legal mind, historic career, and strong feminist bona fides — cardiovascular issues are serious business at any age, to say nothing of 81, so hopefully Ginsburg can make a strong, full-fledged recovery.

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Of course, none of us are Ginsburg's doctors, so it's impossible to know for certain how serious her condition was or will be going forward. There's one thing that's undeniable, however, regardless of how unseemly it may seem to discuss — any level of health scare for Ginsburg will likely inspire even more left-wing calls for her to step down from the Supreme Court to allow President Obama to nominate a liberal successor.

To be clear, however, it's not as though the woman herself has given any indication she wants to slow down. Ginsburg has made it plain that she has no plans to step down, though there's no telling how a health scare might change a person's perspective on things as they enter their twilight years. But it's entirely unclear at this point whether leaving another Supreme Court nomination to Obama would be all that fruitful anyways — with a Republican Senate majority in any confirmation hearing, you could argue that the time for another Obama Supreme Court nominee has come and gone, and while it's undeniably a roll of the dice, hoping for a new Democratic administration in 2016 could be just as sensible.

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In any event, I'd imagine none of these are contingencies anyone particularly wants to consider. Ginsburg is an essential presence on the Supreme Court bench, and her voice would be sorely missed. Here's hoping she comes back stronger than ever — somebody has to keep Scalia in line, after all.

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